For decades now, South Africa has faced a struggle between sport and racial political issues, impacting both South African sport and the nation as a whole. Apartheid was introduced in 1948, with the effect of extending and institutionalising existing racial segregation, and was only abolished in 1991. Apartheid had the effect of restricting inter-racial sport and thus politicising sport in South Africa (Bolsmann & Parker, p. 6, 2007). Since the abolishment, a revolution and transformation has resulted in sport in South Africa, with particular significance to Rugby Union, Netball, Football and Cricket. This discussion will include how these sports were initially impacted by Apartheid, what effect and changes this had on the sport, and finally how the sport is now dealing with the lasting ramifications of the issue. Consequently, sport has further influenced a change in South Africa and has been used as a tool for growth and unification in the country. The effect on these sports at a political and business level will also be explored, including a discussion of the Quota System established by the Government, and the controversial issues surrounding it. This essay will convey the interrelationship between sport, business and politics in relation to South Africa’s attempt to become racially equal within sport. As part of the successful Afrikaner National Party slogan in the 1948 election, Apartheid was introduced. Apartheid brought about a number of changes to sport in South Africa and to the nation as a whole. In the early years of Apartheid, international criticism of the system grew. The national Rugby Union team, the Springboks, became increasingly isolated from society as they were seen as representatives of Apartheid. As unrest escalated in the 1970s, the Commonwealth signed the Gleneagles Agreement, which discouraged any sporting contact with South Africa. Moreover, South Africa were also absent from the Olympic Games for 30 years. Apartheid was officially abolished in 1991 when South Africa’s Parliament voted to overturn the legal framework, and a transformation began to occur. Nelson Mandela was significantly elected as President of South Africa in 1994. The quota system, In order for South Africa to move forward in the post-Apartheid era, a new policy was needed to unify their sports structure. A quota system was introduced to South African sport as a way of combating racial inequality, whereby sporting teams were required to include a minimum number of black or white people in their team. Furthermore, sporting bodies were required to provide racial demographic data of their sport in order to received national funding. These quotas were not always strictly followed and it brought about a number of contentious issues in sport, including whether it is fair to base selections on race and whether quotas undermine the basic fundamentals of sport. This Quota System was a quick-fix solution for a major issue at the time and has subsequently been rejected by the South African Government in recent times. Mr Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sport and Recreation, stated: ‘the Quota System is both undesirable and a blunt tool that we believe will not bring about meaningful development and transformation in sport as envisaged’. Below are a number of examples of the application of the Quota System within South African sports. Rugby Union applied the Quota System in the early 2000s through the Super 12 Rugby competition. South African teams were required to have a minimum of two black players in their team, as this sport has been white-dominated . Netball’s racial quotas impacted a broad group including a number of different levels and ages. In 1995, provincial teams in the under-19 age division were required to have at least 40% representation of ‘blacks’ or ‘whites’ on their roster, with at least two players of each race on the court at all times. If they failed to do so, this would result in a loss of tournament points....
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